Since my involvement with the media began, I have seen tragic, shocking and disturbing stories emerge. However, as a former primary school teacher, the ensuing article has upset me considerably.
Two kindergarten teachers in Surin have been exposed on social media for binding and blindfolding two five year-old girls because they were not “concentrating” hard enough.
They said they administered the punishment to teach the little ones to concentrate in class.
And initially the director of the school backed them after the incident went viral of Thai social media earlier in the week.
But now following a crisis meeting held at the school in Chumphonburi district of the north eastern Thai province, the two female teachers involved have agreed to pay 40,000 baht in compensation .
They have also asked to be transferred to another area. But the matter is unlikely to end there as district education chiefs have ordered a further investigation.
The incident surfaced on Monday when pictures of a little girl called “A” circulated online. She had her hands bound with tape and was blindfolded with tape around her eyes.
Initially the director of the school said it was not hurting the students at all and he called everyone in to explain matters. The director agreed with the teachers that the punishment would be a good way to teach concentration.
But the parents of “A” and another five year old were furious. Yesterday a crisis meeting was held. It was attended by the director, the parents, the two female teachers responsible for the first year of kindergarten and local police.
Sanook.com said that reporters were barred from the meeting.
Following the meeting the director said that both teachers had admitted what they had done and agreed to pay the parents of each child 20,000 baht. They also asked for a transfer.
However,the matter will not end there. Narong Meuanchart, the deputy education department chief in Surin Region 2, said that a committee has been set up to investigate the matter further and take appropiate action against those involved.
There are a number of things I find disturbing about this unbelievable incident. Firstly, how two supposedly intelligent people could possible think that this action would help the children to concentrate is beyond me. Five year-olds worldwide are not exactly noted for their levels of concentration.
If the teachers felt that the children were not making the appropiate progress then they should look to themselves and the content of their lessons. For them not to understand that these actions could cause severe emotional problems and possibly seriously hinder the children’s emotional AND educational development, is criminal.
Another major concern is that the principal initially backed the teachers and thought it was a good idea. He is obviously not fit for such a position of responsibility.
The teachers agreeing to pay compensation is also laughable. It is typical of Thailand where it’s thought that money can make anything better. The teachers asked for a transfer? I bet they did. They should both, along with the principal, be kicked out of education for good asap.
The parents of the children have a strong case for charging the teachers with assault, because that is what it was. These irresponsible people need to be made an example of , so hopefully , further such incidents do not occur.